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Ecclesistical & Heritage World No.99

Leading brick maker reiterates its sustainability goals

ZTwkdfbClay brick specialists the Michelmersh Group has released its 2021 Sustainability Report. The report offers an insightful and detailed account of Michelmersh’s established sustainable practices and its plans for achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Announcing the publication of the report on 26 January, the company said: “Michelmersh is determined to continue being the sustainable face of clay brick manufacturing and with the support of its chief executives, its dedicated Sustainability Group and Net Zero Steering Group, it has already undertaken numerous projects to minimise its environmental impact and increase its already efficient production methods with state-of-the-art technology, reporting systems and quality standards.”

Coming off the back of its successful ‘THINK LONGER’ campaign, the group has released a timeline of progressive goals dedicated to reducing the carbon emissions created by brick production. With renewables such as solar already supplying electricity at its facilities, its efforts are redoubled with the use of rainwater harvesting methods, as well as leading the industry with its reduction of plastic packaging.

Michelmersh is also championing the use of circular solutions where possible in its production line, whereby clay waste and other recycled materials can be put back into the production process, while also being recyclable once the building has reached the end of its life. That further reduces the group’s impact on the environment by reusing waste and continuing to extend the life of its products.

Clay brick is a most durable product, with extensive longevity, and will prolong the expected life of a building – resulting in a lower carbon footprint for every year of use. Brick can often be re-used and recycled to live a second or third life, benefitting numerous generations. With brick’s low level of maintenance and operational carbon, coupled with the group’s efforts to de-carbonise its production and therefore the embodied carbon, the full life cycle assessment of Michelmersh’s clay bricks will be significantly reduced and there will be no product that is as environmentally friendly in the construction market, the group believes.

Michelmersh has further extended its sustainability values by helping to create innovative new products through off-site construction methods that allow architects to use brick in more challenging, less accessible circumstances while, importantly, being fit for purpose, non-combustible and A1 rated for use above 18 metres.

The Sustainability Report also details the group’s investment in its culture, staff and environment. Staff are encouraged to undertake sustainability training programmes to further their potential, knowledge and motivation for positive change, and have currently achieved gold status with the Supply Chain Sustainability School. Mental health first aid support skills have been gained by all senior managers and the business takes health and safety very seriously as an overarching principle to the company’s operations, supported by a dedicated reporting system.

Michelmersh’s commitment to minimise its environmental impact continues with the care and attention-to-detail of its production facilities post-extraction. Restitution of sites is of paramount importance: the group works hard to ensure any remediation programme works harmoniously in conjunction with local community and housing plans or bio-diversity action plans. To ensure both the social and environmental value of Michelmersh’s land assets, the group seeks external specialists to advise on how to reintroduce and encourage further flora and fauna to an area, with a unique localised plan based on the site-specific challenges and communities. The introduction of freshwater sources, ground regeneration and natural colonisation allow for those sites to become thriving environments that local communities can enjoy well into the future. Good examples can be explored further within the report, such as Freshfield Lane’s ancient woodland and Floren’s freshwater lakes and reserves.

The group’s overarching goal is to achieve net zero by 2050, and it believes the introduction of industry-altering practices such as the switching of fuel sources and innovative carbon capture and storage technologies will bring that target within closer reach. Significant projects on the horizon will considerably de-carbonise the clay brick manufacturing process, firmly continuing to establish clay brick as one of the most sustainable building products to specify. Additional commitments by Michelmersh to go ‘above and beyond’ to ensure it produces the highest-quality product with the lowest ecological footprint will continue through its net zero strategy and in-depth sustainability improvement programme, ensuring Michelmersh’s place as the most sustainable company in the industry.

The group’s joint-CEO Frank Hanna is optimistic about its sustainable future. He commented: “Michelmersh has dedicated substantial investment, research and passion into our sustainability strategy and will be keeping our customers updated on our efforts and commitment to implement a continuous programme of improvements. We often lead the industry with innovative initiatives, and we feel our goal to successfully achieve net zero carbon neutrality by 2050 is very much underway.

“Though we expect to achieve this goal more quickly than anticipated, we will be monitoring closely the impact of our new initiatives before reassuring our customers that this goal is achievable nearer in the future. As we continue to embrace additional sustainable technologies and processes, we are excited to bring our customers on board this journey with us, to demonstrate that clay brick continues to be the most beautiful, durable and sustainable product for construction. We are proud to be Britain’s sustainable brick specialists, but more importantly we are excited about our positive contribution to enhancing the long-term aesthetics and quality of our built environment for future generations.”

• To download the full Michelmersh Sustainability Report, visit www.mbhplc.co.uk/sustainability.